Tag: art

Creative Madness

Creative Madness

Anthony Crawford
Anthony Crawford

He was working twelve to fourteen hour days in a creative surge to build a recording studio. But not just any recording studio…one where Anthony and his wife Savana can create their dream.

As I stood listening to him share his vision, I felt myself resonating with the impulse that grabs hold of artists and pushes us forward in a rush of energy that helps manifest that which is in our hearts and minds. Time becomes irrelevant and we can work for hours without a break. Such is this mad creative process.

 “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant–there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing,”         Georgia O’Keefe

Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

When a person feels called to live a creative life it isn’t easy. The pressure to conform to the schedule and life others live is significant. If you dare live outside the box it can be a constant struggle to stay there as our society doesn’t deal well with those of us who dare to follow and dance to our own inner voice. Whether we photograph, paint, write books or songs or poetry, dance…life lead by creativity is challenging. And many times artists are seen as weird, outcast, strange because we bring forth new ideas and new ways of seeing things.

If creative efforts yield success in the world, it makes it a bit easier for the artist to continue in his or her efforts as the opinion is…time is well-spent. But for those of us whose work isn’t well-known, we keep at it, swimming at times against a current of negative opinion and judgment….’why doesn’t she get a real job?’….’why doesn’t he volunteer and make better use of his time?’……’how come she doesn’t do ________? Many times the negative messages come from within ourselves.

Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb
Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb

Accomplishments are constantly being measured externally, where forms are always read from the outside, where comfort and lifestyle are often mistaken for success, or even happiness. Don’t be fooled. Our ideas regarding success should be our own,”   Teresita Fernandez

Over a year ago my friend Jen and I talked about the dilemma and pressure of feeling called to create and not knowing where it will lead or what difference it will make in the world. Of having the resources to devote to the creative process, the inner desire to fully commit our lives to it and serving the greater good but feeling at a loss for how to get the work out into the world.

SimoneLipscomb (6)Several years ago an independent publishing company opted to publish a book I had been writing for years. Sharks On My Fin Tips: A Wild Woman’s Adventures With Nature* was born out of my desire….no, my passion…to help people connect with nature and care about our planet. It contains stories of my personal relationship with animals, oceans, rivers, lakes and how nature is a healing force in my life. After several years of writing and saving stories, the process of putting it all together and seeing it in a book was amazing…finally. 

Then followed two books, a book of photography, Place of Spirit, and a children’s book on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, The Gulf Oil Spill Story. And then a project of poetry and photography with my friend Thomas Rain Crowe, Crack Light. And another project with Thomas with his translations of Hafiz and my photographs, More Than All the Rich Man’s Gold.

Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

But then came the reality of the publishing world: marketing is vital. And I’d rather just tap into inspiration and use my skills to create a work of beauty. Marketing? Really? Sales? Ugh.

And so it goes. The creative process is maddening. It’s wonderful. It drives many of us crazy. And we continue because we truly have no choice but to do so.

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living….I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be,” Joseph Campbell

Photography by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

The energy of building something from nothing inspires us and gives us life, helps us breathe completely, fully…it makes us feel at home in our skin even when people around us might criticize or ignore our work or us.

Savana Lee Crawford and Anthony Crawford...Sugarcane Jane. Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Savana Lee Crawford and Anthony Crawford…Sugarcane Jane. Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

Anthony’s in the grip of a creative whirlwind. As we chatted in his evolving studio he expressed a desire to see his kids off to school, to have a family life and be able to do what he and his wife love to do–create music. Rather than give up family or music they are creating the life they want, building their dream.

Cover Rich Mans Gold
Thomas Rain Crowe’s translations of Hafiz and Simone Lipscomb’s photography.

Thomas said this to a class he was teaching: The difference between writers and someone who writes is that writers have to write. They cannot not write. And so it goes with those of us called by some mysterious, inner voice to create. We cannot ignore the urge to paint, write stories, photograph, write songs, draw, play music, write poetry, dance. We must surrender to this creative madness that calls us. There are no guarantees or promises that our efforts will pay off, make a difference or change the world for the better but we really have no choice. To ignore the inner voice, the creative spark that ignites us with inspiration is to die while breathing.

*Sharks On My Fin Tips, Grateful Steps Publishing House, 2008.

Check out Anthony and Savana Crawford’s wonderful music with their duo, Sugarcane Jane and with Willie Sugarcapps.

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Brick

The Art of the Brick

1773077_origI’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the value of art eludes me and I struggle to ‘understand’ it or find meaning in it. That doesn’t diminish my appreciation of it though as I admire anyone who has the courage to bring into the physical realm an idea, a spark of inspiration. But today it was pretty easy to find meaning in LEGO, an exhibit at the Pensacola Museum of Art.

_4834596“Where does my art fall in the art world? I leave that to art critics and art students. I just have fun. It’s art made out of a toy. Hopefully it inspires kids and maybe grown-ups too, to go home and make art themselves.” Nathan Sawaya.

6207852_orig

The artist left a promising career as an attorney nearly 10 years ago to play, to have fun. Perhaps a good lesson for all of us. Even if we don’t dedicate ourselves to it full-time, we can carve out an hour here or there to let our creative impulses find expression.

3262967_origNathan’s exhibit was hailed as one of the top twelve “must-see” exhibitions in the world by CNN. And it started from play and continues as play. His fun in childhood with LEGO has continued through his life and his imagination has carried him around the world with his sculptures.

6456367_origWhat if each of us followed our passion and allowed the sense of play to fuel creativity. There would probably be a lot less violence, a lot less anti-depressants prescribed and a lot more joy. Can LEGO art change the world? Perhaps not but your art could change your life…and therefore change the world for you.

8942526_origThe exhibit is on display until August 10th. If you have a chance check it out and spend some time in the building room to create your own LEGO fun.

Alchemy

Alchemy

Kerry Parks heating glass
Adam Burgess and Kerry Parks heating glass

The audience sat transfixed as these magicians created a work of beauty, of art, from scraps of glass–bits left over from other projects. Recycling at its best.

Adam Burgess
Adam Burgess

Adam Burgess and Kerry Parks took us through their process of glass making beginning with a flat sheet of bits of different colored glass. With careful heating, molding and blowing, these artists wove a spell of magic as they demonstrated the art of creation.

Fire of creation
Fire of creation

As I watched the intense heat necessary it reminded me of the heat present when this planet was formed….magma, lava, hot gases spewing and the end result was this blue planet…this ocean planet.

Kerry Parks
Kerry Parks

And our lives too are created from the stress of intense events or heat and pressure that cause us to evolve into higher expressions of ourselves…or break into pieces if we choose not to grow. It seems so simple writing it here but the process of self-transformation is truly a journey of creation, of becoming.

simonelipscomb (12)I’m grateful for Kerry and Adam and their art that reminds me to allow the fire of purification to consume me, burn off the dross and create within myself something really, truly beautiful. We’re all works of art going through alchemical changes that help us become, in essence, who we already are.

Finished piece....
Finished piece….

Adam and Kerry work at the Hot Shop in Orange Beach Art Center. Classes are available as well as their beautiful art at the gallery.